While Hyundai's sweeping Blue Drive initiative took center stage at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, the Korean manufacturer quietly revealed another "green" program known as the Genesis Forest Project. A collaborative effort between it, the Carbonfund.org and Brazil's Ecological Institute, the Genesis Forest Project was created to fully offset the entire first-year's greenhouse gas emissions of all 2009 Genesis Sedans sold in the U.S. According to Hyundai's projections, that would amount to zeroing out some 93,170 metric tons of CO2.
To meet this lofty goal, the Genesis Forest Project has been tasked with permanently conserving and reforesting some 3,000 acres of rain forest in Tocantins, Brazil. Located in that country's Cerrado region, Tocantins is classified as a "Biodiversity Hotspot" -- and the increasingly endangered home to a wide variety of unique flora and fauna. Two-thirds of the project's resources are being dedicated to avoiding deforestation and conserving land while the remaining third is directed to active reforestation efforts, which includes plans to re-introduce 30 native plant species back into the area. The Genesis Forest Project is the only program of its kind to offer seed grants for new projects and to allow consumers to contribute to the expansion of the forest. Beyond its environmental benefits, the undertaking also seeks to create local economic opportunities, improve the regional environment and help preserve the region's biodiversity. More information is available at www.huyndai.carbonfund.org.